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Lewis Gilbert, James Bond Movie Director, Dies at 97

Lewis Gilbert, who directed multiple James Bond films, has passed way at the age of 97.

Deadline reported the accomplished director's death, though it did not cite a cause. Other reports cited that he passed away in his Monaco home on Friday, Feb. 23.

Gilbert directed a wrote many films throughout his many years in the industry, but he is often most well-known for his work in the 007 franchise, having directed three different James Bond movies.

He was pursued by the studio for the fifth Bond film, You Only Live Twice, but turned down the offer twice until legendary Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli was able to convince him to take it on.

While most all of the Bond films are based on the book by Ian Fleming, it is interesting to note that the screenplay for You Only Live Twice was written by another author who would go on to be equally as iconic, Roald Dahl.

Gilbert stepped away from the Bond series for a while, but later came back and directed two of the most iconic Bond films of all time, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

In addition to his work in the Bond franchise, Gilbert also directed a number of other classic films, such Seven Nights in Japan and Alfie.

Alfie was a romantic comedy starring Michael Caine, and it was a very successful for Gilbert, wining the Jury Prize at Cannes and going on to be remade in 2004 with Jude Law in the leading role.

One of Gilbert's last films was the 1996 horror movie Haunted. It starred Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, Anthony Andrews, Victoria Shalet and John Gielgud.

Gilbert directed, produced and wrote the screenplay for the film based on a James Herbert novel by the same name. That film maintains a score of 80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Some celebrities have taken to social media to pay tribute to Gilbert, with Peyton Reed, the director of Marvel's Ant-Man films writing, "Lewis Gilbert, director of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and MOONRAKER, has passed away. SPY was the first Bond film I saw in the theater. (And I have a tiny homage to MOONRAKER in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP.) Rest in Peace."


British actor/author David Walliams also spoke kindly of Gilbert, recalling the a story of once meeting the famed director.

"I met [Lewis Gilbert] in a restaurant in London. He was having lunch with Sir Roger Moore," Walliams said. "I told Lewis how much I loved the Bond films he had directed & he asked me ‘how did you like my friend Jaws?’ as if I was 10 years old even though I was 40! I loved feeling 10 again though."